The Falcons search for an offensive coordinator continues after head coach Dan Quinn interviewed former Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter, who is considered the early favorite to replace Steve Sarkisian.
Quinn said there is a lot of league-wide interest in the position.
Before the Koetter interview, Quinn said he had interviewed two candidates, which reportedly were former Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and former Falcons offensive coordinator and Buffalo, Jacksonville and Tennessee head coach Mike Mularkey.
Also, according to a ESPN report, the Falcons and the Bengals were blocked by the Denver Broncos from interviewing Gary Kubiak. The Falcons would not confirm the report but according to a person familiar with the situation the team was not allowed to speak to Kubiak.
Although Kubiak did not coach last season, he remains under contract with the Broncos.
The Falcons fired all three coordinators last week, a day following the regular-season finale and a 7-9 campaign.
Quinn is looking for a coordinator to fit the team’s scheme and personnel. Bevell and Kubiak run the outside-zone, inside-zone scheme that Kyle Shanahan brought to Atlanta in 2015.
“We're not having wholesale changes on how we play in terms of a system,” Quinn said last week. “Not only is it important for the players and the staff, but also for Thomas (Dimitroff) and his staff as well in terms of the players that we're scouting for, to fit the system. I think adaptability is probably the top factor going in.”
Mularkey and Koetter would have to adapt parts of their schemes.
The Falcons’ running game fell off last season, while the passing attack continued at a high level. Fixing the offensive line is a major priority this offseason.
The Falcons passed for 290.8 yards per game, which ranked fourth in the league last season. They rushed for 98.3 yards per game, which ranked 27th in the league.
“We’ll have both outside and inside zone for sure,” Quinn said. “And what ways we can feature the guys best. So, it will definitely be still heavy in the zone, but definitely new ideas, new ways to do things, that’s definitely a part of it.
“But not a wholesale change in terms of the philosophy. But as far as new schemes, new wrinkle part of it, adjustments, yes. (But no) wholesale changes to the scheme.”
Quarterback Matt Ryan has worked with Mularkey (2008-11) and Koetter (2012-14), who are both former coordinators with the Falcons. That signals the team may not want Ryan to have to start over again with new coordinator for the third time in five seasons. The next coordinator will Ryan’s fifth over 12 seasons.
Quinn described Ryan’s input into the search indirectly.
“Well, I think Matt has input because, how do I say this? Because of his familiarity with the offense,” Quinn said. “But as far as going to select people, that's not part of his influence. All the players do to a certain regard. We want to keep the system going where Matt thrives in. So, he has a part of it, but not part of who, if that makes sense.”
Quinn neglected to comment on the known candidates.
“There’s a number of spots that we’re talking about in different ways,” Quinn said. “So, until that moment, I won’t give any comments on specific guys.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.